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Lee County’s lime rock policy on agenda for April 17 hearing

Lee County staff is recommending changes to the Lee Plan that would reduce or remove current policies that regulate lime rock mining. The proposed staff changes will be presented to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17 in Commission Chambers at the Old Courthouse, 2120 Main St. in Fort Myers.

During the public comment phase of the hearing, concerned residents, businesses and industry experts have the opportunity to present their viewpoints on the proposed amendments.

The proposed changes under consideration would amend Lee Plan Goals 1, 9, 10, 33, 47, and 114, Chapter XIII, and Map 14 to:

  • remove the requirements for a lime rock supply inventory and demand analysis and for future lime rock mines to be designated on Map 14
  • delete Map 14, the Future Lime Rock Mining Overlay
  • add a policy regarding compatibility of mining operations on airport capacities, facilities and operations
  • add a policy to require a public informational meeting prior to submittal of a mine excavation planned development rezoning application

“Map 14 and the supply/demand requirements of the Lee Plan currently provide ironclad protection for the County’s residents from environmental, groundwater, blasting, traffic and other impacts from unnecessary mines, whereas these impacts will occur under the amended Lee Plan unless the Board has perfect wisdom to sift through the reams of conflicting expert testimony and reach the right decision for the public, environment and economy,” said Greg Stuart, president of Stuart and Associates, a land use planning, design and development consulting practice with offices in Fort Myers and Seattle.

The Proposed Amendment has been uniformly opposed by a wide range of community groups during two public hearings held by the Local Planning Agency. Among the groups and organizations that spoke or wrote letters with concerns about the proposal are the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Sakata Seed, the Village of Estero, the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL), the Audubon Society, the People of Lee County, the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, the Florida Wildlife Federation and the eYes on Conservation 20/20 Coalition.

These groups have requested that a series of workshops be conducted to communicate the County’s objectives and to solicit adequate public input on how best to address the objectives while maintaining the integrity of the DR/GR and the overall plan.

For more information, visit http://nomineon82.com/.

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